Information on Doing Business Around the World
Doing international business is more difficult that people perceive it to be. In overseas transactions, you do not only have the distance to worry about. You need to concern yourself with different cultures, code of ethics, standards and rules. Let us look at some of these rules.
Across boundaries, international letters salutations change. Most of us are used to simply writing Mr. or Ms. in your business letters; this will work well on transactions in English speaking countries such as the US or UK. However, if you work with Spanish speaking citizens, you will need to change your salutation to Sr. (for Senor) or Sra. (for Senora). For French speaking correspondents, this becomes Monsieur, Madame or Mademoiselle, which is best not abbreviated. For Japanese clients, it is best to put the suffix -Sama after the last name. These are just a few changes that you need to deal with in matters as simple as salutations.
Standard Shipping Charges
Conducting businesses overseas that deal with products or materials that need to be sent via shipping, you need to be aware about shipping rates to various countries. You will need to charge shipping rates accordingly. You would not want to overcharge as this might discourage your potential clients. Naturally, you should not charge less than what should be or you end up at the losing end. The postal service is by far the most cost-efficient shipping service. Before confirming a deal, you must already have informed your client of the postal charges for international shipping. US postal charges for shipping to other countries can be checked through the website. You only need to provide information on the kind of item and packaging to be shipped. Once finished, you will have a more or less accurate estimate so you can inform your client about the shipping cost they need to pay on top of the item cost.
If international business for you means going on travels abroad, restaurant tipping would be one of your major concerns. You will most likely attend seminars, lunch meetings and dinner gatherings. All these instances will put you in the awkward situation of knowing whether you should tip or not, or how much tip is enough. Generally, restaurant tipping varies greatly from one country to another and from one person to another as well. The main rule is to check your bill first whether or not come form of service charge is included. If it is not included, feel free to lay down about 5 to 10% of your bill. Tipping in America and Asia (except in countries like Japan) is most often unnecessary, but the gesture is highly appreciated. In Europe, most restaurants add a service charge so tipping may not be necessary. In other countries which have stricter standards, it is safest to "do as the locals do." Of course, if you are very satisfied with the food and the service, you can leave a few euros. Be careful though that your act will not be misinterpreted for something else.